How the Border Crossed Us: Filling the Gap between Plume v. Seward and the Dispossession of Mexican Landowners in California after 1848
Kim D. Chanbonpin
The John Marshall Law School
Cleveland State Law Review, Vol. 52, No. 297, 2005
In 1854, the California Supreme Court concluded that although neither party to an ejectment suit could claim to be the true owner, the plaintiff, who could trace his ownership to a prior possessor, had a stronger claim than the defendant, who was in actual possession of the land. Taught to many first-year law students, Plume v. Seward is meant to illustrate the basic rule that when no legal title exists, property rights of first possessors trump the rights of those currently occupying the land. When examined in a full historical context, however, the Plume decision is evidence of the uneven treatment of California landowners based solely on race.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: reparations, race-based discrimination, property, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Date posted: April 27, 2010